My kids have definitely enjoyed their share of online “worlds” in recent years, and they were excited to try out another one.
Tiny Planets has a Sesame Street feel to it while giving kids a safe place to play and explore. The site has a vast amount of information including lesson plans, science information, as well as games. Kids enjoy playing around on it and parents can find information and helpful teaching tips.
Product: Tiny Planets
Details: A website with activities and fun for kids. Membership is free, but you can purchase keys to unlock various features on the site. Various sections of the site offer learning opportunities, fun games, videos, picture stories, science information, and a galaxy filled with adventure for each “cadet” to explore in their space ship.
Price: Free, but additional purchases of keys will add to the enjoyment of this site
What we loved . . .
- Entertainment. Yes, it was fun. My kids all enjoyed a little mental break as they roamed the universe. Flying their space ships around allowed them to play games, build their own planet, and “shoot” things. My 5 year old enjoyed the shots which look like fireworks and don’t cause any damage. Not something I want him sitting around doing all day, but it was not the focus of the game either.
- Free. No cost to sign up your kids, and they can find lots of fun activities.
- Educational content. There is information on various planets, space discovery, and other educational information. There is a lot of information throughout the site that is targeted at different ages. Some is definitely for preschoolers (fun activities with mirrors) while other sections would be geared toward middle school (like when they discuss the different gases in the atmosphere on various planets).
- Safe. They have taken some important steps to make a safe place for kids to play on the internet. There are no ad pop ups to worry about. Kids can only chat with pre-chosen phrases. And, even the cadet names are assigned by the program (although you can flip through them if you don’t like the first one) so you don’t need to worry about those sometimes questionable names that other kids come up with on internet worlds.
Some considerations . . .
- Can cost money. If you enjoy this and want your child to get the full experience you will have the option of purchasing keys. These range in price from $1.95 for 10 up to $49.95 for 600 (and various denominations in between). These can be used for unlocking videos, books, space ship parts, planet decorations, etc.
- The educational value could easily be skipped. When my kids got on the site all they wanted to do was fly around and play games or build their planets. They didn’t spend time reading the books, printing the worksheets, reading the articles on the planets, or even watch the videos. They just wanted to play games. So, while the content is there, it is in a separate place where kids might not necessarily go looking for it unless steered there by an adult.
- Based on aliens. Although it is a make believe world, I would have preferred an astronaut as the guide rather than aliens. They are cute and cuddly, but are definitely not my first pick for my children’s teachers.
- Names are a little funny. I’m glad that my kids didn’t have to pick their own names (which usually ends up as some weird variation of their original name with lots of letters and numbers after it to find a user name that hasn’t already been used). But the names were still long and not always easy to remember (Electro Dragon, Buzzy Whale, Rowdy Butterfly, etc.)
Tiny Planets has some fun to offer kids of a variety of ages. While I wouldn’t use this as part of our school day activities, it was a fun, safe place for them to spend some of their free time. Cadet accounts are free, so you might enjoy checking it out as well.
For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.
Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Tiny Planets as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.